Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sitting alone, thinking again... am I into the right thing? where to? The search continues.

An chance encounter today with one of my ex-colleague and senior left me on the thinking table again. It's all about choices you have and choices you make. Different people, same subject but different take. In discussion was the eternal question in this race called 'potential next professional move'.
So, when should a person move and what should the person consider while moving places? One good point he made, which I also agree is, when your contribution to the company becomes significantly more than the company's contribution to your skillset, it's time to move on. He gave some good pointers on what skills set to learn and focus on. What I should be focusing on before making my next professional move to another corporate and all. Very fair points... all well taken.

The point he made was simple - if what you want to learn from entrepreneurship is what you are getting to learn (even if 80%) in a good corporate profile then why opting for more risky alternative. Do good things, learn skills set and earn good money.

This discussion and more, left me wondering... what should I actually be doing? Corporate way or Entrepreneurship way? Again some questions and self-doubts. So, thought will write something on this blog and writing might help in clearing up my mind.

So, why entrepreneurship? I will try to list down few of my thoughts that pull me towards entrepreneurship. All reasons listed here and honest!

  • Entrepreneurship itch started in very first few months in my first job. Why? Probably, I started to think that I can make double the money I made then while working for myself. So, I want to make money .
  • I started to think very early into corporate that the complete environment is more restrictive than free. Free thinking is good only for books. So I need freedom to think freely
  • I have this feeling for long now that they (corporate) can not realize and utilize my full potential.
  • I mostly don't fight much for that one notch up rating in performance appraisals. I don't believe in pushing back much. I know I don't deserve to be there being evaluated based on someone's perspective . My delivery and execution on ground speaks of itself which is corroborated by repeat projects, client's feedback and the respect I carry.
  • I don't find the complete corporate environment enough challenging intellectually.
  • I have taken up tough projects and delivered well. I know I can deliver any type of project now. What's next? Looking for next big challenge!
  • I know that I have lot of potential in me, which just needs a little bit of direction and some means to come out.
  • I have thought of many business ideas (mostly internet based) in past few years. All original. But could not take them forward and have later seen different companies coming up around similar ideas. Disappointing at times, but it corroborates my belief in my ideas and their business worthiness
  • I have started to realize that most of my ideas are customer/consumer centric. I can help create systems to help community at large.
  • When I close my eyes and think how I want to be remembered, I can see myself as a person who has created something significant and have touched millions of lives during my lifetime.
  • I want to do something at the very intersection of creativity and intellect, intersection of left and right brain.
  • I am passionate and creative at heart. I want to see a creation of mine where I put in all my heart and mind. I want to feel that stage where heart, mind and soul becomes one. A creation that will take me to the state of ecstasy, complete synchronization and resonance with nature and universe. That stage is my ultimate pursuit.
  • I realize and know that universe has given me something special and my life will be wasted if I don't use that special something for my life's purpose.
  • I realize that my life is all about pursuit and realization of that purpose.

Yes, I think I have listed most of the reasons that pulls me toward entrepreneurship. I am just a change agent in this special scheme of things.

And, it really helped writing out my thoughts today. I am much relieved, clear and motivated. Yes, all set! I know what I want!
Blurting down inner thoughts on paper sometimes act as meditation it seems. Great!

[tags doubts, purpose, entrepreneurship, the calling, heart, mind, decision, soul, philosophy, self-help, thoughts]

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Success - So close... yet so far! (A take on time tested universal success mantras)

In pursuit of finding deeper meaning of life... I have read lot of
self help, biographies, motivational books over last few years. The
titles cut across different times, different eras, different authors
and different languages.

What I find surprising however is that they all mostly talk the same
thing? A very common set of traits, habits, values, beliefs and
practices appear.

To list few top of the mind recalls (Can call them Universal Success Mantras):
1. True DESIRE
2. Followed by undying BELIEF and FAITH
3. LAW OF ATTRACTION follows - Universe conspires to give what you
truly desire and believe to you
4. MASTER MIND GROUP helps - A group of like minded to interact,
inspire and mutually learn at regular interval. Great revelation. True
across centuries - Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, Stephen Hawkings, etc.
5. In a carefully chosen good ENVIRONMENT - good friends, good people.
6. With clarity of Life's PURPOSE, definite goal and clear vision
(listen to your heart)
7. Fire it up with day PLANNING
8. And support all of above with bonus HABITS - optimism, discipline,
humility, self control, etc.

These few, time tested principles have sticked around through ages.
Time and again, books over books are drafted on them. Irony is... all
talk almost the same thing and still all are bestsellers. This leaves
me with big WHY and two questions. If these are sure shot mantras to
success, 1) why are all these books read by all, when they talk same
thing; and 2) why are these principles/mantras still followed by very

Dwelling further on first question, I can say... it probably happens
because, very few are able to find their true purpose (< 5% of entire
population). So, 95% remains unsettled at heart. Most of them give in
to circumstances and learn to ignore their inner voice, but still
there are sufficient people in this 6 bn world population, who are
always in search of inner peace. This is the population these writers
target at (or address). Well, I see no harm in addressing latent needs
and selling extreme emotions (yes, 'extreme' as the successful writers
know that only extreme sells. Extreme positive and/or extreme negative
emotions are anytime hit formula). As a matter of fact they are doing
good. Even if one person changes for good, even for a single day after
reading these books... They have done their job. World would be one
productive man day better overall. And that's some contribution.

This brings us to second question, why despite being so obvious, these
success mantras are followed by only few? Why only 5% of the world
population? - Reasons I can think are obvious. First, majority of
world's population is struggling for survival. They are struggling for
regular food, shelter and home. This part of population can not think
of moving to next level? Remember Maslow!!? Very few are able to break
out of this vicious cycle. Secondly, though these universal success
mantras sound simple and easy, they are damn difficult to believe in
and to follow. Remember, true belief is one of the basic premise. One
need to first believe in these principles, to reap further benefits,
then one needs to become disciplined, next to come is hard work on
continuous self improvement... And trust, this last bit is really
difficult. After spending whole day in earning bread and shelter for
family... It's very convenient to slip in bed and watch TV rather than
holding yourself up for another couple of hours. It's difficult and
needs real conviction and purpose driven life. It needs breaking out
of your comfort zone and that is not very comfortable for majority of
the population. This is where people generally loose out. And yet
again I would say, even if people change for few days after reading
such articles/books, authors have done their job!

So, It's easy... Isn't it? Explanation is easy... And so appears to be
'Success'. 'Universal Success mantras' are staring at you. Answers are
right up there. So close... But, yet so far!!

[tags success, mantras, principles, thoughts, self help, self
development, success rules, desire, faith, law of attraction,
discipline, master mind group, day planning, purpose, life meaning,
goal, mission]

Sent from my mobile device

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The best I can!

Some personalities strangely inspire me. Whenever I look at some
famous personalities of 18th and 19th century, whenever I read about
these people, they fill me with mysterious inspiration. I'm talking
about league of Beethovens and Benjamin Franklins of the world. It is
inspiring to see that how much self motivated these people were. They
were true torch bearers. They, at that time, when information was not
so readily available, made so many contributions to the world at
large. They knew exactly what they wanted to achieve and their purpose
on earth. They pursued their interests and made their presence felt.
Look at their perseverance, their dedication to learn and then to
Beethoven once when going through a low phase in his life, shrugged
the idea of suicide cause he felt that he still had to give his best
contribution to society and music. And then later came his symphony
no. 9. One of the best piece of music till date. He was almost deaf by
that time cause of his illness. He received 5 rounds of standing
ovation for his act. Maximum allowed at that time was 3 rounds for
Wow! This is what inspires me. Passion.
Irony is that what these great personalities could do then, is very
hard to find even now, when we are living in era of information
One can argue that we are talking only about 1% or may be 2% of
population then. And if we see around we could easily find some great
guys but again only in 1-2% of population.
Yes, I agree. There are great personalities in this era as well and
there have been few throughout the history. But, still I feel that
with so many resources available this percentage should have increased
over time.
No particular point to make. Just wanted to acknowledge achievement of
these great leaders. And to accept, that, all of them inspires me to
do something great. They motivate me to listen to my heart and follow
my dreams. Motivate me to unleash my potential. And they motivate me
to exhaust my capabilities to contribute the best I can out of me.
Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Worked Up!!!

I was just struggling with this one thought regarding work. I can clearly see that there are two schools of thoughts on work:

1st. Do (Work) what you like; and,
2nd.Work as a mean to sustain self.

1st School – sounds quite enticing… but people are not sure of financial benefits in this. Probably people are only considering short term benefits and are unable to see long term. Lot many successful examples here – book writers, entrepreneurs, artists, creatives, singers, musicians, photographers, etc. Persistence, willpower, passion followed by good benefits. Some singers, artists, entrepreneurs etc. keep on following their dream for several years before they actually achieve success.

2nd School – people keep doing what they are doing. What they have been tuned to or forced to take up by parents, society, education, etc. They take work as means to achieve other things in life. Roti, Kapda aur Makaan. Then other things like hobbies, likes, etc. One can find good examples here as well. Infact, large population falls under this category only. Best in this creed give 100% to work. Take life as it comes and enjoy walk of life (atleast try to believe that they are...). Follow your year on year KPIs to get promotions, good salaries, etc. Don’t find many negatives in this approach as well. Easy to adopt. Easy to follow short term specific goals. Sureity of basic necessities getting addressed. Sureity that things (finances, positions, etc.) will improve with time and experience.

And then there is 3rd. Probably worst of all. Heart says follow 1st. Mind says 2nd. Days pass in doubt whether to go with 1st or 2nd. Then weeks... then years. They can't enjoy present, can not give best to their job, keep shuffling between two worlds. Keep switching between dreams and reality.

These thoughts leave me totally worked up...!!

No one thought is good over other! I think it totally depends on the individual and what he has accepted gracefully in his life. Problem starts only when someone is stuck between two thoughts and unable to commit to one and take action. Yeah... Probably :s !!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


This is typical Mumbaiah (related to Mumbai)… and whoever has ever commuted through local train to work would have noticed it. Whenever one gets out of a local train during morning hours… ‘tak tak tak…’ there is this familiar sound of wood knocks around. It doesn’t take much time to figure out the source of this unusual sound – couple of shoemakers on the platform. Curiosity took me to one of them and what a skill they have… 3 mins flat to get done with a pair. I was delighted with the service and their efficiency. And what they get for it is just Rs.5. This left me wondering about shoemakers’ daily/monthly income.

If we observe we could see that these shoemakers get good footfalls during 3 hours in morning (8 AM – 11 AM), then moderate footfalls for next three hours and minimal footfalls thereafter. Based on a rough calculation we can say that on a good day a shoemaker would make Rs. 450 - 500 (20shoes x 3 hrs x Rs.5 + 5shoes x 3h x Rs5 + 3shoes x 3h x Rs.5). Out of this most of the earnings (60-65%) happen during peak 3 hours. So, 2/3rd of earnings happen in 1/3rd of the working time. This gives us another food for thought… is there a way out in which these shoemakers can use remaining 2/3rd of their time more productively?

Couple of crude alternatives I can think of: (Please feel free to add…)
1. Switching between stations based on time of the day – Shoemakers can render service on stations toward town during peak hours and they can probably shift to stations in suburbs during evenings. (There are more commuters from suburbs towards town during morning hours and opposite movement happens during evening hours). But point to consider here is that a person going to office in morning is more likely to get his shoe polished compared to a person coming back home. So again attractiveness of this alternative during evening hours has to be validated.
2. Alternative work after peak hours – Shoemakers can seek out work in some other areas like mills, factories, etc. after peak hours. Problem here could be their limited skill set and availability of such type of opportunities.
3. A new ecosystem – Another option is to build an ecosystem to productively utilize their skills. Why do we need to have leather tanning / polishing industry limited to some specific areas in town? What if there are leather work related shops close to some of the stations? This could give shoemakers an opportunity to be involved in regular source of income as well. Again, the problem to consider in this case is whether there is really a need/demand for so many shoemakers? Is location (distance to work) really a constraint?

I could think of only above 3 alternatives off the fly. Brainstorming could help us to come up with few more options and further refining the identified alternatives. If at all anything can help to increase productivity and 'Shoestring' income of these shoemakers!! 

subtag: Social Innovation, Ideation

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Entrepreneurship - by 'Demand' Vs 'by Choice'

'Entrepreneurship by Demand' Vs 'Entrepreneurship by Choice'
Lesson on Entrepreneurship from likes of  'Jack the Ripper'.

For more than one year now, I have been reading much around Entrepreneurship - Biographies, Success stories, books, articles and whatever interesting I get my hands on. And this interesting thought striked me while I was thinking about the right time to get into Entrepreneurship. Interestingly, if we look closely, we find that there are two types of Entrepreneurs – Entrepreneurs by Demand and Entrepreneurs by Choice.
You are an immigrant (forced or voluntary) and have come to a new country, new place to make a living. You don’t have any support system, you don’t have enough money. You have to support your family and you have to earn a living. You have to start from scratch. You are talented, you are skilled… but you are unable to land with a job. Now, all you can do to make a living is to sell (use) your talent directly in the market. A roadside shop to sell your art or some law advisory. Anything depending on your skills. But, you have to start something on your own. Bingo! You are an Entrepreneur. And this is Entrepreneurship by Demand. Look at the history and many of these Entrepreneurs have made a big fortune starting from the scratch.
Another scenario. You are a person from a stable family. You always had access to good education. You always have been a good student. Now you have a good cushy job. After a relaxed sleep you get up refreshed in the morning. You have filling breakfast and go to work. You are at work from 9 to 5. You come home and have good time with you family and kids. End of the month, you are taking home a decent salary. You have build up few assets and you have reasonable savings in your account. And then, one fine day you decide, you don’t want to work ‘whatever’ for ‘whoever’. You want to be your own boss. You are filled with gallons of confidence that you have accumulated over years. You take a stalk of your strengths and skills. You decide to start something of your own. Bingo! You are also an Entrepreneur. And this is Entrepreneurship by Choice.
So, whenever I think about Entrepreneurship, I find two types of entrepreneurs:
1.       Entrepreneurs by Demand.
2.       Entrepreneurs by Choice.
So, which one of these makes a more successful Entrepreneur? I could not decide and I understand this is debatable as well. Some will vouch for Entrepreneurs by Demand and equally for Entrepreneurs by Choice. Nevertheless, let us give it an attempt.
Probably, we can start by high-level comparison between both these type of Entrepreneurships side by side:
Entrepreneurs by Demand
Entrepreneurs by Choice
Initially driven by ‘Urgents’
Primarily driven by ‘Importants’
Play on existing strengths
Play on existing + Develop required strengths
Tactical focus
Strategic Focus
More perseverance , ‘Do’ or ‘Die’ situation
Less Persevereance
No looking back. Commitment.
Can switch back to cushy jobs.

So, can we say which one is better? Hmm… No concrete conclusion yet!
I was just wondering if we can draw some parallel from criminal psychology to deduce which type of Entrepreneurship could be better. In criminal psychology, it is said that there are two types of criminals – Criminals by Demand and Criminals by Choice. Law enforcers and Psychologists vouch that it is harder to catch Criminals who are criminals by choice and that they are shrewder than criminals by demand. Remember Charles Shobraj, Jack the Ripper.
Now, would it be fair to compare entrepreneurship with crime scene? I guess not, but here I think we are comparing the cases where environment Demands us to get into some action Vs where we make some thoughtful Choices within the given environment.
If we accept Criminal Psychology then we should agree that Entrepreneurship by Choice should be better. So, why is it not true always? Why history stands equally behind Entrepreneurs by Demand.
Looking closer we find that there is one underlying principle which we have been ignoring all this while when we are trying to make direct conclusion based on the analogy of criminal psychology. Criminals, irrespective of whether by choice or by demand, makes an ‘irrevocable commitment’. It is difficult for them to again become acceptable in the society. In most of the cases, they commit themselves to the criminal lives. The same is not true in case of Entrepreneurship by Choice. Failed Entrepreneurs are acceptable in work and social life though there is some social stigma of failure that they have to face. But, there is nothing like point-of-no-return for Entrepreneurs and especially for ‘Entrepreneurs by choice’.
And again, this difference now becomes of greater prominence when we compare Entrepreneurs by Demand and Entrepreneurs by Choice. Entrepreneurs by Demand, because of demanding pressures, have higher level of commitment to the Entrepreneurship route they have been forced to take. They are bound by a commitment which is kind of irrevocable.
So, based on this thought would it be justifiable to conclude that ‘by Demand’ or ‘by Choice’, the most important thing for any Entrepreneur to be successful is ‘To make an Irrevocable commitment’.  And, I have started to believe that this makes the real difference between Entrepreneurship by Choice and Entrepreneurship by Demand - ‘Irrevocable Commitment’ of never looking back. If both type of Entrepreneurs are bound by similar level of ‘Irrevocable Commitment’, I believe Entrepreneur by Choice would be more successful. And why not? He would have all the time and all the resources to take more informed decisions and he would have time to develop on his skills and to plan his moves strategically. But, apart from all these good to have time and skills, there is this one thing that Jack the Ripper can teach all Entrepreneurs is the importance of ‘Irrevocable Commitment’.